New Scholarship Helps Part-Time Students Pay For College

New Scholarship Helps Part-Time Students Pay For College

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Finding help to pay for college as a part-time student has gotten easier thanks to a new state program.

"Really give students who haven't been able to qualify for state funding in the past an opportunity to apply for some scholarship funds," said James Ambrose, who's director of financial aid for Jefferson Community College.

Starting this year, part-time students can apply for state funding when going back to school under what's called the New York State Part-Time Scholarship.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the Excelsior Scholarship for full-time students at two- and four-year schools in 2017.

"If you come from any family earning $125,000 or less, the state will provide free tuition," he said while announcing the program last year.

"But unlike Excelsior, the part-time scholarship doesn't have as many restrictions.

You need to be a state resident attending a SUNY or CUNY community college, take at least six credits and fewer than 12, and maintain a GPA of 2.0.

Another requirement is you must be in enrolled in a degree program.

With adult learners or from the military, part-time students make up about 45 percent of enrollment at JCC. 

Ambrose says while there's been federal aid, there hasn't been nearly as much help for part-time students.

"It doesn't really matter what's happened prior to this semester as long as they maintain the 2.0, they can apply for the part-time scholarship," Ambrose said.

The aids students can get is up to $1,500 -- or the cost of tuition -- for four consecutive semesters.

Ambrose adds that this scholarship helps break the stigma that it's impossible to pay for college part-time.

"Students thought that if you're not full time you don't qualify and that's really not true," he said, "and this just kind of adds to what we were able to give before."

Students need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for the scholarship. 

The deadline to apply is July 27.

Follow this link for more information.

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